fogged in

Lithuanians in Ireland

Most Lithuanian immigrants arrived in Ireland in the 2000s, when the Irish economy started booming. It is also estimated that around one third of immigrant Lithuanians live in the Dublin area.


In the beginning of 20th century, thousands of Lithuanian Jews (known in Yiddish as Litvaks) lived in Ireland. Robert Briscoe, who served as lord mayor of Dublin in 1956-57 and 1961-62, was son of Lithuanian Jewish immigrants to Ireland. In contrast, the current immigration is of majority Catholic Lithuanians, as Lithuania contained few Jews in 2000.

In 1935, Feliksas Vaitkus, the sixth person who had a successful flight over Atlantic Ocean with a single engine single seat fixed-wing aircraft, landed in Ireland. Vaitkus flew his transatlantic flight with Lituanica II. Vaitkus had to fight the worst possible weather conditions and was helped considerably by hourly broadcasts from an Irish radio station. He learned that Dublin was fogged in, as well as all areas heading east as far as the Baltic Sea. He knew that he could not make it to Kaunas due to his low fuel supply, and being exhausted after a 23-hour struggle fighting the elements, he felt it was best to come down somewhere in Ireland. He spotted an open field in Cloongowla at Ballinrobe, County Mayo and came down, with the aircraft suffering extensive damage . He was lucky to survive and not sustain any significant injuries. Lituanica II was crated for shipment to Lithuania, where it was restored. Vaitkus made his way to Kaunas, by ship and train, where he was given a hero’s welcome .


The Lithuanian Association in Ireland Limited, officially registered in January 2005, has been active since 1999. The association organises Lithuanian concerts and other events in Dublin, Cork, Monaghan and Portlaoise, runs eight Lithuanian weekend schools in Dublin, Cork, Dundalk, Galway etc. for Lithuanian children, runs a mailing list lithuaniansinireland with over 700 members, publishes information for Lithuanians in Ireland on a web site and organises monthly Lithuanian gatherings around Ireland. Saloje (In the Island) published twice a month, which has around 5000 readers, and the weekly Lietuvis (Lithuanian) (5000 copies) are the most popular local papers among the Lithuanian community.


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